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  • Why Casinos Matter

    Institute for American Values

    A Report from the Council on Casinos

    Thirty-One Evidence-BasedPropositions from the Health andSocial Sciences

  • About this Report

    THIS REPORT COMES FROM THE COUNCIL ON CASINOS, an independ-ent, nonpartisan group of scholars and leaders who cometogether to examine the role of casinos in American life andto foster informed citizen debate on gambling as a public policy.

    Financial support for this initiative comes from the Bodman Foundation,

    the John Templeton Foundation, and other contributors to the Institute

    for American Values.

    2013, Institute for American Values. No reproduction of the materials contained here-

    in is permitted without the written permission of the Institute for American Values.

    ISBN: 978-1-931764-44-45

    Ebook ISBN: 978-1-931764-45-2

    Institute for American Values

    1841 Broadway, Suite 211

    New York, NY 10023

    Tel: (212) 246-3942

    Fax: (212) 541-6665

    Website: www.americanvalues.org

    Email: info@americanvalues.org

  • Table of Contents

    Members of the Council on Casinos.......................................................

    Introduction.............................................................................................

    The Thirty-One Propositions: A Snapshot..............................................

    The Thirty-One Propositions..................................................................

    Conclusion...............................................................................................

    Appendix: How Much Gambling Revenue Comes from Problem Gamblers?.................................................................................

    Sources....................................................................................................

    4

    6

    9

    13

    36

    37

    41

  • Page 4

    JAY BELSKYUniversity of California, DavisDavis, CA

    JEFFREY BENEDICTSouthern Virginia UniversityBuena Vista, VA

    DAVID BLANKENHORNInstitute for American Values New York, NY

    MARK BOYDGoodwill Industries ofSouthern New Jersey andPhiladelphia Maple Shade, NJ

    HANS C. BREITERNorthwesternUniversityFeinberg School of Medicine Chicago, ILMassachusetts General HospitalBoston, MA

    JONATHAN CONNINGHunter CollegeThe Graduate Center, CUNYNew York, NY

    RICHARD A. DAYNARDNortheastern UniversitySchool of Law Public Health AdvocacyInstituteBoston, MA

    JOHN J. DIIULIO, JR.University of Pennsylvania Philadelphia, PA

    WILLIAM J. DOHERTYUniversity of MinnesotaSt. Paul, MN

    ROBERT FRANKCornell UniversityJohnson Graduate Schoolof Management Ithaca, NY

    WILLIAM A. GALSTONBrookings Institution Washington, DC

    CLAIRE GAUDIANINew York UniversityThe Declaration Initiative New York, NY

    NEIL GILBERTUniversity of California,BerkeleyBerkeley, CA

    ROBERT GOODMANHampshire CollegeAmherst, MA

    EARL GRINOLSBaylor UniversityHankamer School of Business Waco, TX

    Members of the Council on Casinos

  • Page 5

    JONATHAN HAIDTNew York UniversityStern School of Business New York, NY

    WILLIAM A. JOHNSON, JR.Rochester Institute ofTechnologyFormer Mayor of Rochester Rochester, NY

    JOHN KINDTUniversity of IllinoisCollege of Business Champaign, IL

    KATHLEEN KOVNER KLINEUniversity of PennsylvaniaSchool of MedicineThe Consortium Mental HealthCenter Philadelphia, PA

    RICHARD C. LEONEThe Century FoundationNew York, NY

    GLENN C. LOURYBrown University Providence, RI

    STEVEN MALANGAManhattan Institute New York, NY

    LAWRENCE M. MEADNew York University New York, NY

    DAVID G. MYERSHope CollegeHolland, MI

    STEPHEN G. POSTStony Brook University Department of PreventativeMedicine Stony Brook, NY

    R.R. RENOFirst ThingsNew York, NY

    FRED SIEGELSaint Francis CollegeManhattan Institute Brooklyn, NY

    MARGARET O'BRIEN STEINFELSCommonweal Fordham Center on Religionand Culture New York, NY

    CHARLES WHEELANDartmouth CollegeRockefeller Center for PublicPolicyHanover, NH

    BARBARA DAFOE WHITEHEADInstitute for American Values New York, NY

    AJUME H. WINGOUniversity of Colorado Boulder, CO

    ALAN WOLFEBoston College Boston, MA

    PETER WOODNational Association ofScholarsNew York, NY

  • Page 6

    From time to time in American history, a new institution takes rootacross the country, and in doing so, changes the nationchanges thephysical landscape of communities, impacts the patterns and habits ofdaily life, affects citizens and communities economic outcomes, and insome cases even alters relationships between the governing and thegoverned, the more privileged and the less privileged.

    Consider the sudden emergence and rapid expansion of fast foodchains in the mid-20th century. At one point, a fast food establishmentcoming to your town was a rare event. Only a few years later, it wascommonplace. A major new institution had taken root across the nation,and the way we eatand the size of our waistlineschanged as aresult.

    Or take the more recent rise of payday lenders. Several decades ago,these businesses were illegal loan-sharking operations. Today, in sub-urban strip malls and shopping centers, thousands of legal paydaylenders offer high-interest loans to people in need of fast cash. Quitesuddenly, these lending establishments have become part of the finan-cial landscape.

    Something of this magnitudean institutional eruption of similar sizeand consequenceis now occurring in the United States. It is thespread of casinos. For most of our history, casinos were illegal. From1930 through the late 1980s, they were legal only in the desert cities ofNevada and (since 1977) the beach town of Atlantic City.

    But starting in about 1990, something new and important began to hap-pen. Casinos began to enter the mainstream of American society. Nolonger viewed by government as a dangerous vice, and no longer cor-doned off and geographically removed from the everyday ebb and flow

    Why Casinos MatterThirty-One Evidence-Based Propositions fromthe Health and Social Sciences

    Introduction

  • Page 7

    of American life, casinos are now popping up across the nation, near ashopping mall or a river dock near you, with the full support and spon-sorship of the very state governments that only yesterday had outlawedthem.

    Nearly a decade and a half ago, in the early stages of the casino ascen-dancy, the federally funded National Gambling Impact Study Commissionconcluded its multi-year investigation of gambling in America with a callfor a moratorium on further expansion. That recommendation wentunheeded. Instead, states rushed headlong into legalizing new casinoswithin their borders.

    Moreover, during this period of expansion, casino gambling itself haschanged dramatically. A national market headquartered in Nevada andAtlantic City has been joined by dozens of new regional markets acrossthe country. Table games catering to high rollers have largely given wayto slot machines catering to middle and low rollers. Casino gambling as aonce or twice a year vacation has largely given way to casino gambling asa once or twice a month or once or twice or more a week pattern of life.

    Whether or not you personally gamble in them, the new casinos matter.They are influencing the nation as a whole. They are affecting our health,our economics, our politics, our ideas and social values, and perhapseven our sense of who we are as a people and what obligations we havetoward one another. They appear to be connected in important ways tothe rise of American inequality. And because these changes are of recentorigin and are still unfolding, they tend to be only partially and oftenpoorly understood by the general public, journalists in the print andbroadcast media, policy makers, and civic and business leadersespe-cially those who have never themselves visited one of the new casinos.

    We offer thirty-one propositions, based on the best available evidencefrom the health and social sciences, to describe how casino gambling ischanging and how this new social and institutional form is changingAmerican life.

    A Note on Sources: In Great Britain and in provinces of Canada andAustralia, governmental leaders have commissioned comprehensive,

  • Page 8

    well-funded research and policy studies of casino gambling. This hasnot happened in the United States. In the U.S., the leading funder ofgambling research is the gambling industry itself.

    For the evidentiary basis of this report, we have relied primarily onindependent research, by which we mean research that was not fund-ed or controlled by the gambling industry. For the future, we recom-mend that U.S. federal and state governments help to establish a nonpartisan research agenda supported by independent funding aimedat the further study of state-sponsored and Internet gambling.

  • Page 9

    The Thirty-One Propositions: A Snapshot

    Casino gambling has moved from the margins to the mainstreamof American life.

    Todays regiona